Someone once said, each day you either get a little better or a little worse. The choice is up to you. While it may not be that simple, it is an interesting question to ask ourselves: Today, did I become a better parent, husband, worker, runner, cook, and so on and so on?
When we think about “getting better” we often think it means working harder or practicing more and may even feel stressful.…
Why does Canada produce so many great hockey players? Why doesn’t Compton produce more physicists?
In his recent podcast, Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of a boy named Carlos who, against all odds (poverty, abandonment), is able to get a world-class education not typically available to boys like him.
In this segment he introduces the listener to the idea of talent capitalization, a theory first put forth by James Flynn.…
I met a friend of a friend who, like me, was from the Boston area.
When I told him I was from Chelsea, his instant response both said it all and exposed a flaw in our collective thinking about moving up in life.
“I never met anyone who made it out of Chelsea.”
One on hand, it spoke to how intractable the poverty and challenges seem in this town just over the Tobin Bridge, which separates the prosperity and potential of Boston from this small area that generation after generation seems to be left behind.…
There is no doubt that Bruce Springsteen is hard wired for hard work. This is a simple fact that anyone who has ever seen one of his concerts can attest to.
But there are plenty of musicians who practice and play often and they don’t become Bruce Springsteen.
In a recent review of Springsteen’s new autobiography, Born to Run, New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner, points out an interesting theory suggested by Springsteen about why his songs resonate.…
Walking into the central gallery at the Detroit Institute of Art, you are struck by the majesty and magnitude of Diego Rivera’s largest mural, “Detroit Industry.” It envelops you as it spans floor to ceiling and wall to wall across this expansive room.
The mural was intended as an homage to the worker and industry. Rivera spent weeks at one of Ford’s plants, sketching those who toiled away at the height of the Depression.…
From the earliest of ages, we teach our children to say “thank you” when someone does something nice for them. This is undoubtedly important, as it teaches respect, gratitude and appreciation. But what if we also taught them to try and “hear” thank you each day?
When we hear “thank you” it means that we or someone else nearby has done someone an act of kindness.…
Consider the following two situations:
- Sitting outside enjoying a beautiful day, you overhear two people engaging in a political conversation filled with hate, offensive remarks and untruths.
- Later that day, you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see a short video of a little girl, blood running down her face. She is calling, “Baba”, “Baba”. Looking for her daddy after a missile has just ripped through her neighborhood in Syria.
Which do you believe?
A) Government should help all Americans equally.
B) Government should focus on those in most need.
Now consider this:
When we design for “A” we create things that we universally value (think Social Security, Medicare).
- They are devoid of stigma because we know they are meant for all for us and we each expect at some point to use them.
- They are generally easier to manage as they are centralized, simpler and the same rules apply to everyone.
This is the title of a brilliant new PBS documentary about television pioneer, Norman Lear.
It is also his philosophy for creating characters and for seeing “other” people. Whereas someone might look at his most famous creation, Archie Bunker, and see only a bigot, he instead sees a fellow American whose own life experiences have simply created a different version of himself.
In watching clips of All in the Family, it is hard to imagine these shows being able to air today.…
A recent op-ed by The Dalai Lama and Arthur Brooks discussed the benefits of feeling needed. Studies show that Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives.
Yet their central argument was that the fear of being unneeded is driving much of the anger, fear and darkness that we see around us.
So what gives?…